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What tenses should I use after these adverbs, Present Simple or Present Perfect? Is it possible to use the Future Simple?

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closed as too broad by FumbleFingers, Walter, Jonathan Garber, hjpotter92, Persian Cat Jul 18 '13 at 1:40

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2 Answers 2

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Present perfect conveys a sense of the end of the action, whereas present simple conveys a sense of the beginning or middle. For example,

As soon as I have eaten, I will help you with that.

As soon as I eat, my stomach starts grumbling.

The first sentence refers to once the eating is done, but the second sentence refers to when the eating starts. Simple future is never used here.

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  1. In the context you appear to be asking about, none of these words acts as an adverb. If is a conjunction, while before, after and as soon as are prepositions.

  2. Depending on circumstances, both simple present and present perfect may be used with any of these.

    If I understand you correctly, I disagree.
    If I have understood you correctly, I disagree.

    I will send you the paper before I finish it.
    I will send you the paper before I have finished it.

    I will send you the paper after I finish it.
    I will send you the paper after I have finished it.

    I will send you the paper as soon as I find it.
    I will send you the paper as soon as I have found it.

  3. What you call "simple future", the construction with WILL + bare infinitive, is not ordinarily used with any of these in a futurive sense. On occasion, you may find will employed in place of the more usual do after the prepositions when a) the prepositional clause follows a main clause with will AND b) the infinitive which complements will in the prepositional clause is omitted:

    I will finish before/after/as soon as you will ... representing
    I will finish before/after/as soon as you finish.

    Moreover, this construction is also used in what is called a volitional sense, signifying "willingness". In this sense it may be used with if:

    I'll be happy to come if you will pay my expenses.

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